Jun 29, 2010

Ten Months

I know it's been a while, and even this ten month update is about ten days too late, but better late than never. It's been a very active month, mostly because Kate has also been very active.

First things first, we have a new photo album to mark the final quarter of Kate's first year.

Shortly after our last post, we attended a local event called Pet-a-palooza. J won VIP tickets from the local radio station, so we got to have lunch with Victoria Stillwell. She's a dog trainer with a show on Animal Planet called "It's Me or the Dog." As with most "my dog is out of control" shows, it often becomes more about training the dog owners than the dog itself, but she has a nice demeanor and takes a more patient/positive approach than most other TV hosts (like the Dog Whisperer). As part of the prize, we got to have lunch with her (and 20 other contest winners) and a personal consultation about Willow. We asked a few questions about dealing with a newly-blind dog and a new baby; though we didn't hear too much we didn't know, she had a few good suggestions. It was a fun event, especially since we don't often get out with both Kate and Willow. A LOT of people brought their dogs, so there was a pretty fun variety of pooches. Here's our pooch with Victoria and me.

Memorial Day marked our annual trip to the Greek Festival in the San Fernando Valley. The festival takes place at J's childhood church and elementary school. He worked the booths when he was little and now we spend the whole weekend sitting around at the tables gorging ourselves on amazing Greek food. We were so excited to be able to take Kate to her first festival. J especially loved introducing his daughter to childhood friends, family friends, and teachers. We used to sit around the church grounds until they kicked us out at the end of the evening; with a baby that goes to sleep at 6:30, our partying was cut a bit short, but we still had a great time. Aunt M brought Kate these amazing sunglasses from Philly and she really seemed to like them (as long as she was in the sunshine).

As you can see Kate was a very happy girl at the festival. She loves it when daddy throws her up into the air. Don't worry. He is very careful and doesn't throw her very high, partially because she is ginormous. Kate tried some pilafi and a bit of Greek chicken. She seemed to really like it and is well on her way to appreciating her Greek heritage. I'm sure we'll be one of those families bringing home a half-dead goldfish in a plastic bag in a year or so.

At our nine month checkup, Kate's doctor talked to us about starting her on real table food. She had tried a few times, but hadn't really made a good go at it. We decided to start slowly with one meal. It was very slow going in the beginning as she wasn't great at the whole pick up food with two fingers, put food in mouth, release food idea. I think the first meal took about an hour. Here she is practicing at lunch with grandma and grandpa.

Not surprisingly, Kate has picked up the finger feeding concept very quickly. So far she has mastered things like chicken, fish, cheese, cantaloupe, peas, carrots, mangoes, grapes, peaches, pasta, and zucchini. She is to the point now where she doesn't really want us to spoon feed her and she has gotten very good at doing it herself. At lunch the other day she pretty much stuffed her face full of cantaloupe, one piece after another with barely a breath in between. We were astounded and watched very closely to make sure she didn't choke on the massive amounts of food in her mouth. Despite her progressing skills, she still manages to make a huge mess every so often. Here was her latest go-round with broccoli.
My step dad came to visit a few weeks ago and we went to the San Diego fair. Kate got to meet some barnyard animals up close for the first time. She wasn't too sure about them, but didn't shy away either. She has always been a brave little girl, but has started to show a little bit of fear (the weed whacker and a very noisy toy dog that rolls around on the ground) lately. The fair was also exciting because my journalism students won first place for the newspaper and a best in class award for a feature two-page spread.

Probably one of the biggest advances Kate has made over the past month has been her ability to pull up on pretty much everything. Her favorite places are the coffee table and the gate that blocks off the living room. Her other new favorite activity is to pull all her books out of the storage bin in the coffee table. She doesn't seem overly interested in reading the books, but she sure loves pulling them out and handing them to us.

One of J's colleagues said that a baby is at its cutest when he or she is nine months old. One of our dear friends vehemently disagreed and I do for the most part, but ten month old Kate is not quite as jovial as nine month old Kate. Don't get me wrong, when she's happy (which is still a the majority of the time) she's adorable and lovely, but when she's not happy, she lets us know about it. She definitely has an independent spirit and has the potential to possibly be a bit stubborn in the future. Now, you might see comments from her grandparents claiming we are lying, but trust us, she has a bit of a temper on her at times.

Another interesting milestone this month was a bout with hand, foot, and mouth disease. Don't get it confused with hoof and mouth disease. That one is just for animals and the one Kate had is just for people. It didn't seem to bother her a whole lot, but she did have to stay home from daycare for a few days (thanks dad and Steph for the impromptu childcare) and unfortunately passed it on to one of our friend's baby before we realized that she had it (sorry about that J, R, and K). It seems to be going around, though, as a few babies I know have had it at completely different times over the past few months. The good news is that it is like chicken pox and you tend to only get it once.  Adults are pretty much immune, which means J and I were safe and didn't get it.

Finally, to wrap up a long post, we were surprised today by a unexpected new skill Kate seemed to learn magically overnight.

I think she was shamed into it by a little boy from our playgroup who is a few weeks older than Kate. We ran into him on Saturday and he was clapping like crazy. Grandma K worked with her a little on Sunday and I worked with her a little over the past few days as well and voila. We were riding in the car and I looked down and she was clapping. The really amazing thing is that she seems to know the word for clapping. I don't remember using the word clap a whole lot, but apparently she learned it somewhere.

Check back over the next week or so as J and I just got back from an early five-year anniversary vacation to Bora Bora. Bora Bora was one of the stops on our honeymoon cruise and we always hoped to return one day as we found it breathtaking the first time we were there. So, with some saved up airline miles and Hilton rewards points, we journeyed over the Pacific to our idea of Bali Ha'i. It was an incredible trip filled with sunshine, gorgeous blue water and colorful fish, swimming with dangerous creatures like sharks and sting rays, and a magical stay in an overwater bungalow in the most beautiful place we have ever been. We can't wait to share our beautiful pictures with you. In case you were wondering, no we didn't take Kate. She had a grand time with two sets of grandparents and our other baby, Willow, stayed with the third. So we felt confident leaving our girls in their capable hands.